Not Growing Weary: A free movie lesson from Remember the Titans

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Credit: Mike Watson Images / Thinkstock

Following Jesus is not easy. In fact, it can seem downright difficult, but the Bible calls us to do our best to reach beyond what we can do by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are called to run and not grow weary. That is the focus of today’s lesson.

Set up the clip

We are currently in week 3 of our four-week series on the movie Remember the Titans. This movie takes place in 1971 in Alexandria, Virginia. Up until this point, the high schools had been completely segregated–white students in one high school, and African-American students in another school. However, the law changes and a new school, T. C. Williams High School is opened, bringing the two races together in one school for the very first time.

The players on the team have made great strides in building relationships across racial lines. They have even accepted Ronny “Sunshine” Bass, a guy from California who both races think is a bit strange. The team is coming together on the field as well having won their first two games. The town – teenagers and adults – however are not coming together, or even interested in doing so. They allow their prejudices and racist attitudes to separate them resulting in hatred and even violence.

We join the movie today with the Titans struggling as a team and in their effort to unite the town. The players realize that this is about more than football now. They must stay unified and lead the way in bringing the town together as well.

WATCH THE MOVIE:  Start at 56:34  End at 1:22:18

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE

Divide into small groups of 4-8 people. Make sure there is at least one adult in each group.

OPENING DISCUSSION

1. What stood out to you from the movie today? (A favorite scene, a moment that you connected with, a quote that hit home with you.)

2. What themes or important issues were presented in the story?
Unity. Teamwork. Stepping up to do the right thing. Supporting one another. Standing up for what you believe in. The players understanding what they were doing was about more than football.

SMALL GROUPS – SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

Read the following Scripture aloud:

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

Louie sings this Scripture in response to Blue’s speech when he tells the team that they have not won anything yet. The team understands they have to step up and lead the town to victory over racism.

1. How had the team grown tired and weary?
The weight of trying to end violence and inspire others is wearing them out. Julius and Bertier breaking up the fight in the hall. They argue over Bertier not coming to play basketball. Yoast and Boone argue over Boone’s reaction to the brick being thrown through Boone’s window.

2. How have you seen or experienced youth being tired and weary?

3. How does this scripture give hope to the team?
They are inspired to keep going. They remember that they can do more as a team than any of them can do alone. They believe they can overcome the hate and racism that separates them.

4. How can hope in the Lord renew your strength?
We remember that some things we worry about and stress about are way less important than the desires of God. We are reminded that many of the things we want (grades, titles, popularity) are good desires, but the desires placed in us by God are even greater (belonging, community, serving others) These are what matter and keep us going in hard times and keeps our priorities straight.

5. What does soaring on eagle’s wings or running without growing weary or faint look like to you?

SMALL GROUPS – STEPPING UP

Many people are asked to step up or are placed in a situation where they need to step up or fall away. Discuss how each person stepped up to do the right thing–the harder thing–or failed to do so.

Gary Bertier
Cutting Ray. Breaking up fights.Being friends with Julius against his mom’s will.

Julius Campbell
Accepting his role as a leader, while also accepting Bertier’s leadership as captain. Fighting side by side with Bertier. Standing up to his black peers who accuse him of being an “Uncle Tom.”

Coach Yoast
He failed somewhat in letting the pressure of his job cause him to lash out at players. He stepped up in reaching out to make his relationship with Coach Yoast personal as well as professional.

CHILDREN’S SERMON: STEP IT UP.

Divide into small groups of 6-8 people.

Tell the groups: Your youth pastor has just come to you saying “I forgot, we are supposed to have a group of youth do the children’s sermon today. Anyway, the children’s message is the first in a series of using common everyday items to explain what God is like. Oh, and the service starts in 5 minutes. Here is your item.”

Give each group a common item that you have selected.

Rules:

  • Groups each have 5 minutes to design a children’s message about God using the item given.
  • The message must be 3 minutes or less.
  • Groups should seek to incorporate as many members of their group as possible in the presentation.

Groups each present their lesson to the large group.

Debrief

1. Overall, how do you think you did with this activity?

2. Share about the process you used to develop your lesson.

3. Where did you lead or see others display leadership?

This activity forced your group to Step Up!  As a leader, something like this will happen at some point.  The more leadership roles you assume, the more often this will happen.  You will show up at a dinner and be asked to lead the prayer.  In a meeting your boss may say he/she needs you to give a presentation that very afternoon because he/she can’t be there.

It will not always be others asking or requiring you to step up.  An important aspect of being a Godly leader being aware of the needs of others.  Noticing when there is a need for someone to step up taking that risk to assume the leadership role and take responsibility.

This is what has happened to Coach Yoast, Bertier, and Julius.

Coach Yoast had the head coaching job put on him. He did not ask for it.

Julius saw a need for one of the black players to step up to lead the reconciliation and to be a voice to the white community on behalf of the African-American community.

Bertier is forced to make tough decisions in his role as captain. Kicking a friend off the team. Choosing his principles over his relationship with his girlfriend. Going against his mom’s desire for him to stay away from Julius.

Don’t be afraid to step up. Remember our scripture today.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

When he is not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy oversees children, youth, and college ministries in addition to leading the evening worship service at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Al. He is passionate about reaching people with the message of Jesus in a way that engages them with the movement of God. Jeremy is the Senior Editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective and the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. You can find a list of all his books, articles and resources for churches at his website: JeremyWords.com

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